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Thomas G. Koch

Associate Professor   |   DVM Copenhagen, PhD Guelph


Dr. Koch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Canada, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Studies, Orthopaedic Research Lab, Aarhus University, Denmark. He received his Veterinary degree from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark. He worked in mixed animal and equine private veterinary practices before completing an Internship in large animal medicine and surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College. He went on to complete a Residency of Internal Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, where he continues to work as part of the emergency service at the Teaching Hospital. He obtained his PhD degree from the University of Guelph and was the first to report the isolation of putative mesenchymal stem cells from equine umbilical cord blood.

Research Interests

Dr. Koch’s current research focus is on stem cell and tissue engineering-based therapies with joint cartilage repair being the main area of investigation. Studies on equine, canine and human stem cells, joint cartilage and synovial joint health are pursued in parallel.  Within this applied research approach basic mechanistic insights of joint homeostasis and the chondrogenic cell fate is sought including studies in the area of cell mechanobiology. Novel therapies applied in horses and dogs with natural spontaneous disease serve as important translational pre-clinical animal models of similar human diseases. Dr. Koch’s broader research interests are regenerative medicine, improved animal welfare through regenerative medicine approaches and the translation of novel therapies to human medicine.


Graduate Positions Available

1. MicroRNAs as equine joint health biomarkers.

2. MicroRNAs role in equine stem cell immune-modulation.

March 27th is the deadline for OVC Graduate Scholarships. Contact Dr. Koch now.

Current Graduate Students

Selected Publications

  • Russell K, Koch TG. Equine platelet lysate as alternative to fetal bovine serum in equine mesenchymal stromal cell culture – too much of a good thing? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=koch-tg The Equine Veterinary Journal (ID# EVJ-TN-14-423).
  • Tessier L, Bienzle D, Williams LB, Koch TG. Phenotypic and immunomodulatory properties of equine cord blood-derived mesenchymal stromal cells. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=koch-tg PLoS ONE (ID# PONE-D-14-44419).
  • Williams LB, Tessier L, Koenig JB, Koch TG.  Post-thaw non-cultured and post-thaw cultured equine cord blood mesenchymal stromal cells equally suppress lymphocyte proliferation in vitro.  PLoS One. 2014 Dec 1;9(12):e113615. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113615.
  • Bourzac CA, Koenig JB, Link KA, Nykamp SG, Koch TG.  Evaluation of ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide contrast agent labeling of equine cord blood and bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells.  Am J Vet Res. 2014 Nov;75(11):1010-7. doi: 10.2460/ajvr.75.11.1010
  • Co C, Vickaryous MK, Koch TG.  Membrane culture and reduced oxygen tension enhances cartilage matrix formation from equine cord blood mesenchymal stromal cells in vitro.  Oxteoarthritis Cartilage.  2014 Mar; 22(3):472-80. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2013.12.021.  Epub 2014 Jan 11.
  • Munir, S, Foldager CB, Lind M, Zachar V, Soballe K, Koch TG. Hypoxia enhances chondrogenic differentiation of human adipose tissue-derived stromal cells in scaffold-free and scaffold systems.  Cell Tissue Res. 2014 Jan;355(1):89-102. doi: 10.1007/s00441-013-1732-5.  Epub 2013 Nov 1.
  • Figueroa RJ, Koch TG, Betts DH. Osteogenic differentiation of equine cord blood multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells within coralline hydroxyapatite scaffolds in vitro. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol. 2011;24(5):354-62. Epub 2011 Jul 21.
  • Berg LC, Koch TG, Heerkens T, Besonov K, Thomsen PD, Betts DH. Chondrogenic potential of mesenchymal stromal cells derived from equine bone marrow and umbilical cord blood. Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2009; 22: 363-370
  • Koch TG, Thomsen PD & Betts DH. Improved isolation protocol for equine cord blood-derived mesenchymal stromal cells. Cytotherapy 2009;11(4):443-7
  • Koch TG, Berg LC & Betts DH. Current and future regenerative medicine — Principles, concepts, and therapeutic use of stem cell therapy and tissue engineering in equine medicine. 
Can Vet J 2009;50:155–165
  • Koch TG, Berg LC & Betts DH. Review: Stem cell concepts with an equine perspective. Can Vet J 2008;49:1009–1017.
  • Koch TG and Betts DH. Invited Review: Stem cell therapy for joint problems using the horse as a clinically relevant animal model. Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2007 Nov;7(11):1621-6.
  • Koch TG, Heerkens T, Thomsen PD, Betts DH. Isolation of mesenchymal stem cells from equine umbilical cord blood. BMC Biotechnol. 2007 May 30;7:26. Designated Highly Accessed Status.
  • Rho GJ, Coppola G, Sosnowski J, Kasimanickam R, Johnson WH, Semple E, Mastromonaco GF, Betts DH, Koch TG, Weese S, Hewson J, Hayes MA, Kenney DG, Basrur PK, King WA. Use of somatic cell nuclear transfer to study meiosis in female cattle carrying a sex-dependent fertility-impairing X-chromosome abnormality. Cloning Stem Cells. 2007 Spring;9(1):118-29
  • Koch TG, Wen X, Bienzle D. Lymphoma, erythrocytosis, and tumor erythropoietin gene expression in a horse. J Vet Intern Med. 2006 Sep-Oct;20(5):1251-5
  • Peregrine AS, McEwen B, Bienzle D, Koch TG, Weese JS. Larval cyathostominosis in horses in Ontario: an emerging disease? Can Vet J. 2006 Jan;47(1):80-2
  • Koch TG, Loretti AP, de Lahunta A, Kendall A, Russell D, Bienzle D. Semilobar holoprosencephaly in a Morgan horse. J Vet Intern Med. 2005 May-Jun;19(3):367-72

Book Chapters

  • Koch, Thomas G., Moroni, L., Leysi-Derilou, & Berg, L. (2011). Joint Cartilage Tissue Engineering and Pre-Clinical Safety and Efficacy Testing. Tissue Engineering for Tissue and Organ Regeneration. Intech. 
  • Figueroa, R., Koch, Thomas G., & Betts, D. (2011). Stem Cells and Animal Therapies. Comprehensive Biotechnology. Elsevier B.V.
  • T. Koch, Thomas G., Knight, A., & Weese, J. (2011). The Liver. Equine Medicine & Surgery. Munroe and Weese. 
  • Koch, Thomas G. (2009). Small Strongyle Infestation. The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult – Equine. 2nd Edition (pp. 705). Blackwell's.